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Financial services sector attracts most cyber crime, says PwC study

Warwick Ashford

Cyber crime is still the second most common type of economic crime reported by financial services respondents after asset misappropriation, a survey has revealed.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey, 39% of financial sector respondents said they had been victims of cyber crime, compared with only 17% in other industries.

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However, PwC believes the real proportion of cyber crime could be higher than many organisations realise.

“In our experience, financial services organisations do not always identify and log the cyber element of economic crime experienced,”  said Andrew Clark, partner in PwC’s forensics practice.

“This leaves them exposed to cyber threats in spite of any existing cyber defence: if cyber crime is not being accurately tracked, the true risk of cyber crime cannot be fully grasped and understood.”

Fraudsters are increasingly turning to technology as their main crime tool, the survey report said.

“Cyber crime is growing and the methods are constantly evolving – we see no abatement in attacks on banks’ infrastructure,” said Clark.

However, only 41% believe it likely they will experience cyber crime in the next 24 months, while 19% are unsure whether they are likely or unlikely to experience cyber crime.

Clark said this is reason for concern. “Financial services organisations need to recognise cyber crime as a risk type and establish proper cyber crime reporting,” he said.

Still, financial services respondents perceive a greater increase in the risk of cyber crime (57%) compared with other industries (45%).

Financial services organisations believe cyber crime is becoming a greater threat than ever, yet many do not believe it will happen to them, the survey report said.

The survey found economic crime against financial services organisations is rising globally, affecting 45% of respondents compared with 34% across all other industries.

Around half who said they had experienced economic crime reported an increase in the number of occurrences and the financial value of the economic crime.

The survey – which included 1,330 responses from the financial services sector across 79 countries – found theft remains the most common form of economic crime, reported by 67% of respondents.


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